Winter squash tends not to be associated with Italian cooking. But in fall and winter, beautiful big squashes adorn the farmers’ markets from north to south. In Emilia-Romagna, squash-filled ravioli are a classic; and in the south, cooks sauté the squash in olive oil, then dress it with vinegar, sugar, and mint. This recipe pays tribute to those southern flavors.
— Domenica Marchetti
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith’s conversation with Domenica; it aired both in shows about how to make summer last and again during a show about how to make watermelon salad and rosé sangria for a party. •
Text excerpted from PRESERVING ITALY © 2016 by Domenica Marchetti. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photo © 2016 Lauren Volo.
|1 -1/2 - 2 pints|
I specify butternut squash here only because it is one of the easiest squash to peel and cut up. But you can use any variety you like (except spaghetti squash, which would turn to mush). Acorn, buttercup, and kabocha are all good.
- 1 butternut squash (1-1/2 to 2 pounds/680 to 907 g)
- 2 cups (473 g) white wine vinegar
- 1-1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
- 1 fresh or dried chile pepper sliced crosswise or crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
- Sunflower oil
- You'll need 3 or 4 sterilized 1/2-pint jars and their lids for this recipe.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy pulp and discard (or reserve the seeds for another use). Peel off the rind with a sharp paring knife and cut the squash halves in half again lengthwise, to yield 4 pieces. Slice each quarter crosswise into wedges about ¼ inch thick and transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, chile pepper, mint, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir once or twice to dissolve the sugar. Pour the boiling brine over the squash. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let steep overnight.
- Drain the squash, reserving the brine. Return the brine to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil vigorously for 2 minutes, then carefully add the squash. Return to a boil and boil until the squash is just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes—it should still be a little crunchy. Drain the squash and spread it out on clean kitchen towels to air-dry for a couple of hours.
- Pack the pieces tightly into the jars, leaving about 1 inch headspace. Pour enough oil over the squash to cover the pieces completely. Cover tightly with the lids and let stand at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. To serve, remove only as much as you plan to use and let it come to room temperature. Top off the jar with more oil as necessary to keep the remaining squash submerged.
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